Whether it’s taking your own boat out for a spin, renting a boat or kayak, or enjoying the camaraderie of Duck Dodge, Lake Union is an immensely unique setting for Seattle boaters. And part of the charm of operating any type of vessel on the lake is that of seaplanes taking off and landing as you enjoy the water and city scenery.
Throughout the past few years, though, boating traffic on the lake has seemingly increased and so too have the rumblings for the need of a permanent seaplane runway to make life safer for boaters and seaplane passengers and pilots alike (including mentions in Three Sheets here in 2013 and here in 2014). So when I heard that a proposal for a landing strip on Lake Union was imminent back in April (here), I wasn’t all that surprised.
Now, after an application has been filed with and approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Seattle and Kenmore Air are looking to have the new “advisory zone” in place for the summer of 2016.
This proposed zone will consist of eight lighted buoys that will be illuminated by pilots “to provide a safe flight path for floatplanes going in and out of Lake Union.” Being that the runway will be advisory in nature, boaters would be encouraged to steer clear only when the buoys are lighted, indicating that a plane is approaching.
While the official public notice date has expired, you can still submit comments on the proposal to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager Darren Habel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the building of this new advisory zone on the horizon, it brings up a few questions for area boaters: